Vegandale toronto

Not everyone in Parkdale loves the idea of rebranding for vegans

News of the burgeoning Vegandale block on Toronto's west side has been spreading far and wide since we first reported on it two weeks ago – some with generous interpretations of what (and where) the community is.

Billed as "mecca for the ethically minded and hungry," Vegandale is simply a collection of restaurants and services "co-existing on one city block in downtown Toronto."

That block can be found in Parkdale, on Queen Street West, between Dufferin and Brock – but it is not Parkdale, nor is it trying to take over Parkdale.

By the way some people are reacting to concept, however, you'd think that vegans were trying to gentrify an entire a village turned Toronto neighbourhood – one that stretches all the way west to Roncesvalles, and up from the water to well past Queen.

The hooplah started when a brand management group called The 5700 Inc. promoted the renaming of its forthcoming food festival series – the one that used to be known as the Vegan Food & Drink Festival.

In the process of announcing the Vegandale Food Festival, the group revealed on its new website that seven cruelty-free storefronts would be available on the block by the end of 2018.

"Our downtown Toronto urban playground for the vegan and vegan curious exists to bring the best of the vegan world together..." reads a press release announcing the festival's name change from March 6. 

"But we can't contain that to one city block, so we're packing up and taking over the world!"

Currently, the area is home to three restaurants managed by The 5700: Doomie's, The Imperative and Mythology Diner by.

Restaurants called Vegandale BracitoriumProhibition Pie and NYM are all expected to open in the neighbourhood this summer.

Vegans from all over the world have been swooning over the idea of a meat-free district like this in their own cities, but their fantasies may be a bit overblown. I might even have something to do with that.

What's important to note is that nobody wants to kick Parkdale out of Parkdale.

Vegandale – a name that started as a joke among staff at The 5700 – is really just a group of businesses forming a community for those with similar goals and interests.

In terms of gentrification, Parkdale has bigger problems than some vegan shops.

Of course, like veganism itself, there are those who will remain staunchly, almost inexplicably opposed to the existence of such a district – especially given Vegandale's self-described "roots in abolitionism" and "unapologetic messaging."

"This premiere destination for the vegan and vegan curious is the only one of its kind," reads the group's website.

"Promoting a world where animal exploitation is a thing of the past."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns


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